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Published: October 6th 2018
Up late and out with plans for the Palazzo Vecchio but disappointed as it was totally occupied with a special conference closed to the public. Went to Ors San Michele, the building/church built by the guilds as a meeting place. The church is on the first floor, with meeting rooms on the second and third. What is amazing is that each of the floors has 30+ foot ceilings. Quite beautiful and a real challenge to climb the stairs from floor to floor. Amazing pictures of the major Florentine sights from each of the windows of the upper floors.
From Ors San Michele we made our way to the Museo Duomo del Opera, the museum of statuary and other art from the Duomo and Baptistery. We have not been into the museo in a number of years and it is DIFFERENT! Huge, organized into a few dozen rooms, with special exhibits on the building of the Duomo and showing off some of the incredible art. Ghiberti’s doors are shown with glass protecting each side. Never saw the inside view of the doors until now. And Michelangelo’s Pieta and Raffael’s Mary Magdalene in the Wilderness. Looking carefully at the Pieta you can
see where Michelangelo planned to add on Jesus’ left leg but couldn’t quite find a way to make it work for the piece. That may have been why he never finished it. And Raffael’s wood work is incredible and expressive. What a museum versus the little museum we went into a few years ago. Florence has moved into the era of Disney’s E Rides with impeccable museums, points of interest, shopping and exterior spaces. It is October and the streets are jammed, every high end store is packed with shoppers, wine tasting shops galore, and now over 1,500 restaurants tucked into every available space and spilling out into the street. Some of our favorites, like Caffe Gilli, are now only catering to the beautiful people and their offerings – chocolates and drinks – focus on what sells to tourists rather than on a balance of local and tourist business. We found Gilli’s next door neighbor Caffe Paszkowski more enjoyable and still focused on local and tourist with the same fashionable environment. Its been around almost as long as Gilli’s.
After the overwhelming visit to the Museo we walked to Santa Maria Novella with the idea of visiting the church.
It looked like rain so we went into Café JK Lounge, the restaurant associated with the boutique hotel on the Piazza Santa Maria Novella. After a leisurely tea we had a nice lunch of sandwiches and vegetables. Nourished and between showers we made our way back to the hotel for a little rest before taking another walkabout and stopping for a flight of wines and a little cheese board. The wine tasting included brunello, barolo and amarone and was most enjoyable. Back to the hotel and to bed.
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